History abounds here.
From artifacts to Indians
to clever frontier engineers.
Upper Sandusky, the town that took its name from its “upper” location on the Sandusky River became the county seat when it was incorporated in 1848.
Named in honor of the Wyandot Indians, who once lived on the shores of the Sandusky, “water within pools,” Wyandot County is rich in history. Often dubbed as one of the most historical spots in Ohio, Wyandot County is home to the Indian Mill Museum, Old Mission Church, Overland Inn; Parker Covered Bridge (4.5 mi. north of Upper Sandusky off State Hwy. 67N on County Hwy.40a), Swartz Covered Bridge (3mi south of State Hwy 231 and 1.5 miles right on County Hwy. 62 and .25 mi. on County Hwy 130) and the Wyandot County Museum, which continue to tell the story of our roots.
Each year many school children visit the Indian Mill Museum. There they discover that after the War of 1812, the Indians and white men settled into a peaceful lifestyle. Since 1968, the Ohio Historical Society has overseen the mill as an educational museum, located on Country Road 47.
Archeologists have been researching the Indian Trail Caverns and Sheriden Cave along Ohio State Route 568, four miles west of Carey since 1989. The unique cave formation, in a natural limestone-dolomite ridge, lies along the edge of the Big Spring Indian Reservation, which was home to the Wyandot Indians. When the Hendricks family, owners of the caverns, found a five inch spear point carved from animal bone in 1995, it was the first evidence of ancient humans being there. Skulls and bones found in the 15, 000 year old sinkhole are on exhibit now at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History.
Many Wyandot Indians still lived in the area in 1830 when settlers began farming the lands. Frontier engineering produced a canal system in the 1850s that boosted agriculture throughout Ohio. Wyandot County, which has always been known for its rich farmland, will be celebrating the Wyandot County Fair’s 161th birthday this year.
Although farming is still productive in the county, twenty-first century technology has made unbelievable advancements since the Wyandot Indians first settled in our area. The Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) – Wyandot Solar Farm, the largest solar farm in Ohio, opened in 2010. The 12-megawatt facility, located on an 80 acre site in Salem Township near Upper Sandusky, can produced power for 9,000 homes on a sunny day. The $44 million farm has 159,000 panels, which supply clean, green solar power.
Much has been written about the history of Upper Sandusky and Wyandot County. Residents remain proud of their communities, keeping their heritage alive at museums and historic sites. As the future unfolds, they are also enthusiastically looking ahead.
Strong Heritage Roots.
Upper Sandusky has a rich history in the settlement of this area of Ohio. Upper Sandusky was a hot bed of Indian & British activity during the late 1600’s until 1843 when the Wyandotte tribe was the last Indian tribe to leave Ohio. The Wyandotte were fierce warriors that sided with the French until defeated by the British in the French & Indian War. Colonel William Crawford led the expedition in 1782 against the Wyandotte in old Upper Sandusky. His army was defeated by combined forces of British Butlers Rangers & several native tribes including the Wyandotte’s. Delaware Indian War Chief Capt. Pipe captured Crawford which led to him being burned at the stake under the guise of the Moravian Massacre at Gnadenhutten.
The Wyandotte lost 11 of the 12 clan chief’s at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, Tarhe being the only Wyandotte chief to survive the battle but not without being seriously wounded. “The Crane” Chief Tarhe fought for the Americans during the War of 1812. When “The Crane” Chief Tarhe died it was noted he had the largest funeral for a Native American east of the Mississippi.
Upper Sandusky was the site of Fort Ferree being located where the Elks Lodge #83 is today. Fort Ferree served as General William H. Harrison’s headquarters for a short time and was used as a supply and ammunition depot for the duration of the War.
For their support in the War of 1812 the US government gave the Wyandotte funding to build the only grain mill for Native American’s. Maintained for visitors by the Wyandot County Historical Society, 7417 County Road 47, Upper Sandusky, Ohio. The Wyandotte’s also received funds to build the first Methodist mission in the United States, today a museum and church that still holds services in the summer at 8:00 a.m. located at 200 E. Church Street, Upper Sandusky.
Upper Sandusky has 2 Civil War Medal of Honor recipients associated with the town, Cyrus Sears served with the 11th Ohio Independent Battery as a First Lieutenant and received the Medal of Honor for bravery at the Battle of Iuka Mississippi. David Ayers born in Kalida, Ohio, was 20 years old when he enlisted in the 57th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on September 2, 1861 at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, he went on to earn his Medal of Honor for the Battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi.by Tom Hill, local historian author